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The Art Of Love Is Largely The Art Of Persistence

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She had always been a romantic at heart. Ever since she realized people could fall in love with each other she'd wanted to fall in love. She'd wanted to spend the rest of her life with someone who cared about her and only her, someone who held her up above everyone else. Not worshiped her, because that would be a bit on the strange side, but someone who thought she was special. She immersed herself in stories where the girl got the perfect man for her in the end, the one who would love her until she died. She wanted that for herself more than she wanted anything else for the longest time. As time went on, though, she started to think it wouldn't happen for her. She may have had a romanticized view of dating, and had high expectations of every man she dated, but dating itself was hard and frustrating and the men she chose always let her down. She despaired of ever meeting her very own Mr. Darcy, or at least she had until she met Sherlock.

He was exactly like Mr. Darcy, she realized. Prideful and arrogant, and he treated others with a type of disdain. She saw herself as Elizabeth Bennett in the story she'd constructed for them, even though Elizabeth spoke her mind and was brave and smart and everything she really wasn't. And with each interaction she hoped and prayed that, one day, he might show a softer side, a side that showed he cared. She never saw it, though, not even after years of knowing him, and slowly she gave up hope of ever seeing it. In her head and in her heart she knew he would never be the man she wanted him to be. When the Christmas party happened, however, she thought that might be a change, but it didn't appear to make much of a lasting impact, the moment where he treated her well. It wasn't until the day he asked for her help that she realized his opinion of her had changed, that he actually appreciated her. And after the incident on the roof, when he was at her home recovering and getting ready for his journey to take down the whole operation that Moriarty had left behind, she had known that at the very least they could be friends. And then he was gone.

Years passed, though, and she heard nothing from him. Not a single thing to let her know he was okay. She knew he was alive; his brother had said he would tell her if the absolute worst had happened, at any rate, so as long as Mycroft didn't pay her a visit she knew he was still alive. But she had to move on, had to have a life of her own where she was happy. She couldn't pine after him, couldn't keep waiting because if she kept waiting life would pass her by and she didn't want that. She had already let that happen for so long, and one day there wouldn't be a life to have. It would pass her by and as she lay dying she'd wonder if it had all been worth it. She had met Tom and thought maybe she could be happy. Oh, she knew he was a poor substitute for Sherlock; that had been part of the appeal, at first. But she had grown to like him, to care for him, to love him. When he proposed she had said yes without a second's hesitation. She could finally be happy, she told herself.

And then Sherlock came back and that was the beginning of the end of her happiness. But after the wedding she realized she hadn't been quite as happy as she had thought. Everything at the wedding had shown her that, indeed, Tom hadn't been the best choice. And then everything else happened, with Sherlock using drugs again and Mary's secret coming out and the murder and all of it, and she realized that no matter what happened her life was always going to be one upheaval after another as long as Sherlock was in her life. It was going to end up costing her more than she wanted to pay if she stayed in London and kept working for St. Bart's and kept him close. So when the opportunity to work in San Diego came about, she took it. It had been hard to leave, but there had been promises to keep in touch, to write and visit, to keep friendships strong. She even thought that maybe they'd keep it up for at least a year, maybe more. But she knew deep down that she might never be close to any of them again.

It had been three months now and she'd settled into a routine. She hadn't made many new friends. None, really, but she resolved to actually try, and one day she actually might. She'd been at work late into the night; working for the police in California meant there was always work to do, always autopsies to perform. She had chosen to work the morning to afternoon shift but sometimes she couldn't help it if it spilled over into an evening or early morning. Today had been no exception, and she yawned as she made her way to her apartment. It was nearly one in the morning now, and all she wanted to do was crawl into bed so she could get some rest and enjoy her day off. She put her key in the lock and opened the door, looking into her apartment. She stilled after a moment. Something was...off. And when she heard the sound come from her kitchen she knew she wasn't alone. She slowly slipped her mobile out of her pocket and began to call the police.

“You're home,” she heard a familiar voice say from the kitchen. She held her phone warily and slowly made her way into her home more before relaxing. As much of a surprise as it was she saw it was only Sherlock. He was holding up a cup of tea and then he took a sip. “I made tea,” he said when he was done.

“I can see you made yourself at home,” she replied with a sigh before going back to her front door and shutting and locking it. She came back into the kitchen at that point. “Do I want to know why you're here?”

“I want to persuade you to come back,” he said quietly.

“That's not going to happen,” she said, shaking her head. “I needed a fresh start. I'm starting to have a life here. I don't want to chuck it all away and leave, scurry back to London because I can't make it here, or because someone wants me to come home.” She looked over and saw he had poured her a cup of tea. She picked up her cup and took a sip. He had made it just the way she liked it, too.

“You don't have much of a life here. You have no social life, no friends to speak of. You have no boyfriend, not even a lover. You live for work, which is actually worse than you were at home,” he said before he took another sip of his own tea.

She rolled her eyes. “That's certainly something I don't miss,” she said quietly.

“It's the truth, though.”

“I know it is. I just don't want to have it thrown in my face, and you always do that.” She looked down at her tea. “I had thought we could be friends. I had thought that, perhaps, I could keep you involved in my life even after everything. But when you're around it's one upheaval after another. I can't keep doing it, I really can't. So as much as you want me to come home, keeping distance between us is best.”

“I'm not the only one who wants you to come home,” he replied.

“I know,” she said quietly. “Greg asks me about it once a week. Mary wants me to come back as well.”

“You could easily go back,” he said.

“No, Sherlock, I can't. It's easy for you to up and leave and then drop back in like nothing's changed, but I can't do that. Things have changed, and you don't even see it.” She had some more of her tea. “Do you have a place to stay tonight?”

“You're changing the subject,” he said narrowing his eyes.

“Yes, I am. It's one in the morning and all I want to do is sleep. It's been a very long day. So do you have a place to stay or not?”

“I don't,” he said.

“I'll go get some pillows and a quilt,” she said, setting her tea down. She turned to make her way to her bedroom.

“I'm going to stay until you change your mind,” he said.

She stopped in her tracks, turning around to look at him with wide eyes. “Please tell me you don't mean to stay here. With me. Indefinitely.”

“That's exactly what I mean,” he said. “I'm going to convince you to come home.”

“No. No, no, no. You are not allowed to camp out on my sofa until you give up.”

“I'm not going to give up,” he said, crossing his arms. “You know I'm incredibly stubborn. And if you don't let me stay here I can find my own lodgings. I am not destitute, after all. But I'm going to stay in this city until you decide it's best if you go back to London.”

She pinched the bridge of her nose. “What did I do to deserve this?” she murmured to herself.

“You left,” he said.

“That was a rhetorical question,” she said, rolling her eyes once she looked up. “What about John? And Scotland Yard? And your life in London? Aren't you actually needed there?”

“Everyone can do without me,” he said with a slight shrug. “They've done it before. And at least this time they all know I'm alive.”

“Well, I'm not going home,” she said, crossing her own arms. “So all I have to do is wait you out. Eventually you'll give up.”

“I spent two years going after the web Moriarty left behind, and the only reason I stopped was because my brother forced me to. I doubt this time anyone will force me to leave California right now, because each and every one of our mutual friends completely supports this.”

“I'm going to hurt them all,” she said, glaring at him.

“No you aren't. You aren't that type of person.”

She stared at him for a long minute and then sighed as he showed no sign of backing down. “You can stay here tonight. But tomorrow you go home.”

“No. Tomorrow I'll find a flat of my own, but as I said, I'm not leaving until you agree to come back to London with me.”

“Why is it so important I go back?” she asked, uncrossing her arms. “It's not as though everything is falling apart. It's not as though I don't talk to everyone. I mean, I'm a phone call and a few flights away. I am not that important that you should be here trying to convince me to go back to a place I no longer want to be in.”

“You are important, Molly,” he said quietly. “More than you realize.”

She shook her head. He didn't understand. When she thought about London she thought about bad choices and losing hope and loneliness. At least here she could make a fresh start if she wanted. Sherlock may have been right that she lived for her work but that wouldn't always be the case. It didn't have to be. And she knew if she ever wanted to convince Sherlock to go home she needed to actually make an attempt at having a fulfilling life here. “I'll go get you the pillows and quilt now,” she said, turning around again. He said nothing as she went into her bedroom, grabbing two of the pillows off her bed and getting a spare quilt from the chest at the foot of her bed. When she had it all in her arms she took it back into her sitting room and put it on the sofa.

“Tomorrow morning I'll start doing a better job at convincing you to come home,” he said, moving out of the kitchen towards her.

“All you're going to do is irritate me until I try and have you deported,” she said.

“It won't work. Mycroft isn't going to allow me back until you agree to come with me, and he'll throw the weight of the government behind that decision.”

Her eyes widened. “Your brother wants me back as well?”

“As I said, I am not the only one who wants you to come home.” He looked over at her. “Get some sleep. I'll continue in the morning.”

“Fine,” she said with a sigh. “But if you wake up in four hours like you did the last time we shared a residence and you wake me up you might go back to London in a body bag.”

A slightly amused grin crossed his face. “Very well. I will let you sleep.” She turned away from her sofa and began to head towards her bedroom again. “Good night, Molly.”

“Good night, Sherlock,” she said. She made her way back to her bedroom and caught sight of herself in her mirror. She had the feeling the frown currently etched on her face was going to stay on her face for quite some time. She hoped Sherlock would give up in a few weeks, a month at most, but realistically she knew she was in for a very long wait with him to see who bent first. All she knew was this time, it wasn't going to be her. She'd be damned if it was her.